News Local

Police issue warning after sex offender moves to Vancouver

Scott Brown

Cameron Eugene Ratelle. (Police handout)

Cameron Eugene Ratelle. (Police handout)

Vancouver police say a convicted sex offender who poses a significant risk to young women is living in a halfway house somewhere in the city.

The VPD says that circumstances exist to warn the public about the presence of 38-year-old Cameron Eugene Ratelle, a federal offender who has been convicted of a sexual assault against a person under the age of 18, as well as university women living on campuses in Ontario.

Ratelle was arrested in Coquitlam in 2006 after a 16-year-old girl reported that a man followed her off the SkyTrain and attacked her on the way home. At the time, Ratelle was wanted on five outstanding warrants for breaching his probation.

"He has been victimizing our community for a long time, and I'm pleased that he's off the streets, I really am," Det.-Const. Patricia Gallaugher of Hamilton Police Services told The Province at the time. "He's a predator."

In 2002, Ratelle was sentenced to time served in jail — one year — after he broke into a dorm at the University of Toronto, climbed into a bed and sexually assaulted an 18-year-old student.

"It's a very sad case," his lawyer, Jim Ermacora, told the Toronto Star. "He's deaf, he has fetal alcohol syndrome and he can't read or write. We are trying to get him some help, get him into some programs for his problems."

The Star reported that Ratelle was on probation at the time for an earlier sexual assault — lifting up a woman's skirt at a subway station — and was released into his grandmother's care.

A plan to send Ratelle to his native Bahamas to live with his mother failed when the Bahamian government refused his entry into the country.

Police here were advised on May 15 that he would be living at a Vancouver halfway house.

VPD media relations officer Const. Jason Doucette says the Correctional Service of Canada has assessed Ratelle as "a moderate to high risk for violent and sexual re-offending."

"Since becoming aware of Ratelle’s presence in Vancouver, the VPD’s high risk offender unit has reviewed his recent behaviour, and believe that a public warning is prudent," Doucette said in a release.

Ratelle is described as 5-feet-8 and 185 pounds with a stocky build, shaved head and brown eyes. He often uses hearing aids.

Ratelle's release is bound by several conditions, including:

• not to go on the property of any educational institute or school (including university campuses);

• not to be in the presence of anyone under the age of 18 years of age without permission;

• abide by daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.;

• not to possess, purchase or consume alcohol or non-prescription drugs;

• not to possess, purchase or access pornography;

• not to access any Internet site or access any computer;

• must reside at a community correctional centre or community residential facility.

Sbrown@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/Browniescott